Can I give my cat paracetamol?

Paracetamol is extremely dangerous for cats and should never be used to treat cat pain.

We’ve all been there, your cat comes in having had a scrape and you think ‘ouch, where are the painkillers?’ However, don’t ever be tempted to give your cat paracetamol as it will do a lot more harm than good.

What should I do if my cat has eaten paracetamol?

Call your vet immediately or, out of hours, your nearest Vets Now pet emergency clinic or hospital, as no dose is too small. There is an antidote called acetylcysteine, which may save your cat’s life if it is given to them early enough. Taking quick action is paramount to your cat’s health.

Why is paracetamol poisonous to cats?

Unlike humans, cats aren’t able to break down paracetamol safely, and so dangerous toxic compounds are rapidly formed in their body.

This causes irreversible damage to their red blood vessels and causes a syndrome called ‘methaemaglobinaemia’ where the tongue and gums turn chocolate brown and this, together with liver damage, is often fatal.

Image of cat and drugs for Vets Now article on why you should never give your cat paracetamol for cat pain
Cats are not able to break down paracetamol safely and so dangerous toxic compounds are rapidly formed in their body.

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What can I do to avoid cat paracetamol poisoning?

Many over-the-counter pain medications contain paracetamol so it’s best practice to make sure your cat cannot access any human medicines in the house.

Just like with children, make sure all medication is locked away in cabinets out of reach of wandering paws.

Medicines that contain paracetamol include some cold and flu remedies, liquid medication such as Calpol. Paracetamol even has a different name in America, where it is called Acetaminophen.

What medication can I use to treat cat pain?

Cats are (obviously) very different to people and it is simply not safe to give your cat paracetamol or any other human medicines. There are lots of safe cat painkillers that have been developed specifically for felines and these are available from your vet.

If you’re worried about cat pain or any aspect of your cat’s health, please contact your vet in the first instance.